Chocolate Labrador Retriever checks

Labrador Retriever coat colour genetics

September 26, 2014 – 04:04 pm

Kelaeno - Chocolate Labrador
The three recognised colours of Labrador Retriever (top to bottom): Chocolate, black and yellow.

The genetic basis of coat colour in the Labrador Retriever (a highly popular breed of dog) has been studied in detail, and found to depend on several distinct genes. The interplay between these genes is broadly used as an example of epistasis.

Background[edit]

Labrador Retrievers are a popular breed of dog in many countries. There are three recognised colours, black, chocolate, and yellow, that result from the interplay among genes that direct production and expression of two pigments, eumelanin and pheomelanin, in the fur and skin of the dog. The recognized colours are due to two genes, while a third gene affects the range of colouration observed within the yellow Labrador. These individual genes do not act independent of each other, and their interaction in affecting the trait of coat color is used to demonstrate the genetic principle of epistasis, where multiple genes affect a single trait.

The genetics of mammalian colouration has been studied in detail, and similar mechanisms have been identified across many species. For this reason, much of the early work on the coloration of dogs in general and Labradors in particular have relied heavily on analogy to the traits characterized in mice and other mammals. Initial genetic studies of coat color in dogs published in the 1950s concluded that there were two main genes involved, one distinguishing blacks from browns, and the other distinguishing blacks from reds and yellows. A 1977 study using crosses within a population of purebred Labradors showed the involvement of two specific genes in production of the three main coat colours of Labradors and described the underlying genetics of these colour varieties.

Labradors showing the two eumelanin colour phenotypes: Black (BB, Bb) and chocolate (bb).

Source: en.wikipedia.org


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